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‘Deaf Awareness Week’ Category

04 MayDeaf awareness at

Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University has a number of staff networks of which Spark! Staff Disability Network is one of. We aim to run a number of events each year, to raise awareness of and acceptance of various impairments. This year one of our focuses is Deaf Awareness Week but unfortunately, this year it has fallen at a time where the University is closed, and social distancing measures are still in place. The Spark! Staff Disability Network has planned to hold a social event with live talks about Deaf awareness and Deaf history and the opportunity to learn some basic British Sign Language (BSL). However, we have been able to move the majority of this online.

On Wednesday 6th May we will be holding a live session talking about Deaf awareness with the opportunity to ask questions. Please register your interest here and on the day, you will be sent a link to the Google Meet session. This session will be recorded live and shared on our blog if you can’t make it on the day.

Throughout Deaf Awareness week we will be uploading some additional content to the blog including a video on deaf awareness, in spoken English and BSL with subtitles. We will also be sharing a video covering the basics of BSL including fingerspelling and greetings.


04 MayProud sponsor of #DAW2020


04 MayMary Sorene, BIVR and acquired deafness

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Acquiring deafness may be age-related as is the case with our Secretary of over 20 years, baby boomer, Mary Sorene.

Mary SoreneMary never had any problem with her hearing, working in courtroom settings from 1971 until 2012 when arthritis in her hands caused her to retire from active notetaking and concentrate fully on training Speech-to-Text Reporters for D/deaf or hard-of-hearing people.  Mary’s husband Raymond, however, had had severe hearing loss for many years, along with chronic tinnitus which, with the screaming sound in his head, felt worse than the hearing loss.  The tinnitus would keep him awake at night and none of the recommended masking measures seemed to work.  Raymond put this acquired hearing loss down to the noise from the engine of his licensed London taxi, which in the early days (he drove a cab for 50 years) had no muffling under the bonnet.  Raymond used old jumpers to muffle the noise!  When they married in 1975 and Mary first saw them under the bonnet, she innocently asked him why he needed to keep the engine warm!

Fast-forward to 2015 when, sadly, her husband died, Mary stopped using the subtitles on the TV, thinking she didn’t need them.  Wrong!   After a few months it was apparent that Mary was turning the volume up to its fullest extent to hear the speech while the music, of course, was several decibels higher, meaning that the reverberation was going through the ceiling from the lounge into her daughter’s bedroom above, keeping her awake.  It was time to have a hearing test.

In October 2015, Mary was told she had lost a certain level of hearing, causing her to not hear the beginning and ending consonants of words.  Mary was effectively having to guess the words by the context.  This was especially difficult trying to take notes in meetings, sometimes held in a noisy environment, with a lot of background chatter.

With the supply of hearing aids, Mary was now able to hear much better and only occasionally had to ask someone to repeat what they were saying.  Strangely, though, the TV was still a problem.  That was solved by buying a special unit which plugged into the back of the TV set, with the headset themselves being cordless.  Bliss!  The volume was muted on the TV set so no sound reverberated upstairs.  The headset runs on rechargeable batteries.

Mary has only mild tinnitus, no doubt caused by years of audio transcription work; however, she insists that she only ever used over-the-ears “cans” and not in-the-ear buds.


04 MayDeaf Awareness Week is here!


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Many people across the country will be celebrating Deaf Awareness Week from today.

Share your stories and events ensuring your event # is displayed for others to see together with the #DAW2020!  With events mostly on-line using social media, there is a huge opportunity for many to see what people are doing.

So do join us in celebrating #DAW2020!


30 AprDeaf Awareness Week 2020

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Our Deaf Awareness Week 2020 focus was around recognising and celebrating those with ‘acquired deafness’ but we know in light of everything going on that we will, through an online campaign, engage with our members and encourage them to celebrate Deafness, raise awareness of best practice and use the week for demonstrating change and positivity.

Our publicity materials are now available on our website here.

We hope that you will join us in celebrating with us using #DAW2020 on social media from the 4 May!

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